Why Quantity Might Be as Important as Quality

If you are on the Autism spectrum or have a family member who has been diagnosed on the spectrum, then you have probably been inundated by people stressing the importance of socialization for people with Autism.  You may also have been overwhelmed by people disagreeing about what type of socialization is appropriate for people with Autism.  Some people might even suggest that only certain types of socialization are beneficial.  While it is certainly true that some social situations can be overwhelming for anybody and that people with Autism or with other sensory issues might be particularly susceptible in these scenarios, the reality is that many people with Autism, and their families, suffer from a lack of opportunities for socialization because of an outside environment that can be hostile and counterproductive to those goals.

At Mt. Bethel Village, our day programs and our resident program offer numerous opportunities for structured socialization, providing not only high quality socialization opportunities, but also high quantity socialization opportunities.  The combination of high quality and high quantity is important.  Many people with Autism experience some degree of anxiety when faced with social scenarios, especially when the scenarios involve unfamiliar people or situations.  Each time one of those socialization opportunities is unsuccessful or has a negative consequence, then the anxiety about socialization is reinforced.  On the other hand, when a person only has limited structured socialization opportunities, then the positive reinforcement from those events might not translate into other areas and might not reduce any anxiety about socialization.  By combining high quality with high quantity, Mt. Bethel Village supports socialization and the formation of social bonds, helping residents and people utilizing the day programs avoid the isolation and loneliness that can accompany having Autism.

In addition, by providing these opportunities for individuals with Autism, Mt. Bethel Village also facilitates socialization for families who might feel uncomfortable or even unwanted in some other social settings.  Families know that their loved ones are welcome, which provides opportunities to relax and connect with others, as well as increasingly the likelihood of positive social interactions outside of the controlled and structured Mt. Bethel Village environment.

Autism can be an isolating diagnosis for patients and for family members.  It does not have to be.  Schedule a tour of Mt. Bethel Village to experience, first hand, how different the world can feel when the opportunities for socialization are as high in quality as they are in quantity


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